Jamaicans thank Gov't for evacuation from BVI

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Government has stepped in to evacuate Jamaican nationals living in the British Virgin Islands following the passage of Hurricane Irma and ahead of the impending Hurricane Maria.

The Category 5 storm is expected to impact islands already devastated by Irma last week. Yesterday some 50 people arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on two chartered flights.

The flights were organised by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) with assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson, who was on hand to welcome the Jamaicans, said that a local delegation went to the British Territory of Tortola where scores of Jamaicans have expressed interest in returning home.

She said the delegation included representatives from the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) and the Registrar General's Department (RGD), who issued emergency travel documents. “It was a whole-of-government approach, and we did our very best. We did as best as we possibly could under the circumstances,” she said.

“We want to urge those persons who are where the storm (Maria) is threatening, to stay as safe as is possible at this time,” she added.

In the meantime, the Jamaican evacuees are thanking the Jamaican Government for the assistance.

“I feel pretty good, enuh, because, we couldn't get any flight out,” said Tyrone Green.

“No commercial flight was (operating), so when I heard that the Government was sending a flight for us, I felt wonderful. So, I am one of the lucky ones to get on this flight,” he noted.

Dionne Morgan said that she is “just grateful because coming out of a Category 5 and to be hit with another Category 5 would be just… I don't think I could manage that. So, I'm really happy for the Jamaican delegation that came to get us. Thank you”.

Emil Drummond, for his part, said he is grateful for what the Government has done.

“You know, I feel glad; at least they see what's going on and try to be there for us. So, I feel proud of that, and I really appreciate that,” he noted.

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